2021 – the return of the Glass City Marathon! In fact, they called this raced “44 redux” because the 44th edition was virtual in 2020. We had the option of transferring our bibs from 2020, AND running the virtual in 2020, so that’s what my husband and I did.

I followed a 16 week training plan for which I was a coach of the 9:30-10:00 pace group with Dave’s Running Shop. When I first took the job I thought the pace for the long runs was going to be a challenge for me because it was slower than I am used to running. But, the speedwork pace was not aggressive and after my years of hamstring issues I thought it might be a good fit. After the first few weeks I decided to go to a physical therapist because my efforts to “cure myself” on my own were not working. That was a great choice because I owe my ability to make it through these weeks to her excellent work!

Race day… 6:30am start. We got up at 4:15 and left by 5:10. That was plenty of time and we arrived at the race an hour early! Still, time flies before a race start and soon enough it was time to go. It was a dark foggy morning. The temperature was 47 and I wore tank top, shorts, and disposable sleeves. Many people had much warmer clothes on and I’m so glad I didn’t have more on. Not necessary!

I didn’t have a solid pacing plan in place, but I had some ideas on what could potentially happen. I jotted down my BQ time (8:54 pace), a sub 3:59 finish (9:07), and a “better than my Boston time in 2015” finish (9:25 pace). I mentioned to my friend that I was going to try to BQ, because, why not? My running has been going well. Maybe some race day magic would happen! I told her I was planning on keeping around 8:40-8:50 for the first half and see how I feel. I knew I would fade in the 2nd half, so I didn’t plan on running negative splits. She said she had the same idea and said the 3:50 pacer told her that he was planning on running 8:47 splits. Hmmm, good to know!

We found this nice note on race morning from our daughter.

I was stressing a bit because I was going to be at the front of corral 3 and I didn’t want people behind me making me go out too fast. But, that didn’t really matter too much because all of the pacers seemed to be behind me and passed me up.

I didn’t plan on running with a pace group, or with my friend, but sure enough after 2 miles we ended up next to each other. I tried to shadow her for a bit, but she discovered me 🙂 Nothing personal, but I just like to not talk during a race and listen to some music! I did end up chatting with her for quite a bit. We stayed near the 3:50 pacers, but they were running fast. Each mile was clicking off closer to 8:37 than 8:47. Not a huge difference, but by mile 4 I was feeling it. We let the 3:50 pace group pass us. Miles 1-6: 8:41, 8:38, 8:38, 8:37, 8:39, 8:30

I guess it’s pride or FOMO, but I felt like I could hang with my friend and we eased up a little for the next few miles. I had these visions of her encouraging me to bust out a great finish time! Sadly, this was not really in the cards for today. I was really getting tired and told her to just go ahead around mile 11. I quickly lost sight of her. I clocked in 13.1 at 1:53. A great half marathon time for me, but shouldn’t be happening during this marathon! Oof, this was not going to end well! Miles 7-13: 8:37, 8:44, 8:36, 8:45, 8:48, 9:00, 9:05

Each mile after that slipped a bit slower. I kept my eye on the goals, but I was not picking up my pace. By mile 16 I was running 9:15 miles. By mile 20 it was 9:40. I had calculated my paces using 26.35 as my distance, but each mile seemed to be .25 mile off when I hit the markers (longer). Miles 13-19: 9:05, 9:07, 9:21, 9:13, 9:09, 9:16, 9:23

With 6 miles left I thought I still had a shot at sub 4:00 if I could just finish each mile faster than 10:00 min pace. It didn’t quite work out that way, and by the finish line I hit my slowest partial mile – 10:27!!! ouch. I had done my calculations on 26.35 miles, which seems sufficient based on my previous Glass City marathons. However, by the time I finished I had 26.59. Finish time 4:04. That made my official pace 9:19 instead of the 9:11 I had on my watch. It’s all the little things, right? Miles 20-finish: 9:41, 9:43, 9:49, 9:48, 9:56, 10:08, 10:05, 10:27 (.59 miles).

The finish line is in sight!!

My legs were cramping so bad for the last hour of the race. It was horrible! Surprisingly it wasn’t my glutes and hammies, it was my quads and my calves! I’m not sure if the shoes were the cause of that, or the hills (probably the hills) but I knew if I decided to walk during this race I would probably not be physically able to run again – so I didn’t! (yay me!!) My friend did capture a picture of me around mile 25. Ironically I actually look like I’m still running and not really dying out there. Just keep moving!!….

And what happened to my friend? She continued on to kick some butt and get a huge PR and BQ… 3:51 finish. I’m so happy for her!! My coaching group also had some great races, with many half marathoners getting sub 2:00. Very cool! I’m very proud of them.

I almost collapsed after the finish line (thanks legs, but really thanks to the volunteer who caught me!) and had a very painful walk to my car (why did we park almost a mile away??), but as the day went on I was moving much, much better. We went out to celebrate successful races. My husband had a great race, which is a return to racing for him after injuries. Woohoo!! He finished in 3:29, achieving his target goal. I’m very happy with my race overall, but a bit bummed on the execution of it. It has left me with an interest to go back at it again, and get those goals!!

My lips were very purple for an hour after the race! So pretty! 😆

So there you have it – my 15th full marathon. My 9th year to cross a finish line at Glass City (marathon and half marathons included). It’s 10 years of participating in Glass City events if you consider the virtual half in 2020! You should consider coming to Toledo Ohio to run… we put on a great event!

28 thoughts on “Glass City Marathon 2021 – race recap”
  1. Well done, Lisa!
    Many runners would kill for a 4:04 time – you can be more than happy with that.
    Finishing strong (and smiling!) despite all the quad and calf pain is a great accomplishment!

    1. Thanks! Two days out and I am thrilled with my finish time. I like to write the recaps when they are fresh in my mind and I get a little too obsessed on what “could have been”. To think I was running for 4 hours is something I can smile about any day!!

  2. Well done.

    I had the same feeling halfway during my recent half. If I keep this up I can PR. Oops. I couldn’t and should have run slower.

    So congrats on a solid race. And congrats to your hubby and friends.

    1. Those miles are always easy in the first half, right?? 🙂 But who knows, you only get one shot at it so it could end up being a great day. It’s not like a 5K when you can get right back and do it again the next week!

  3. Whoop!!! I was so excited to see your photos on IG! This was a solid race even if you feel the execution wasn’t the best – but you kept that fighting spirit throughout and finished in a great time. Well done to your hubby and friend! And that note from Sydney is exactly what every mother runner wants to see the morning of a race!

    1. That note just melted my heart 🙂 We run so many races that it’s not a big deal these days, but when they kids do give us that little boost and wish us good luck, it’s so appreciated!!

  4. Well done, Lisa!!! Even though you came up a bit short on your goal, WOW! So close!! YOU had a great training cycle, and you were such a great coach for all your 13.1 peeps…can you come to Iowa, for a few months this summer? (asking for a friend). Glass City sounds like a nice event…I might have to venture your way next spring 😉

    1. Thanks! It was fun to hear all of my team reporting their times and enjoying their successes. I don’t know why they didn’t wait around 2 hours to see me finish, but whatever. LOL!! Just kidding :). There was one part of the course where we passed each other and that was a lot of fun too.

  5. I am sorry you weren’t able to run the race you planned. Some days are just not your day, and sometimes you really never know why. I’ve had a few races with painful cramping at the end (and that’s just a half!) — I know how much that sucks!

    Congrats on not walking & recovering quickly.

    Congrats to your friend, husband, and other racers.

    And congrats to you, too, because you finished a marathon & you are superwoman!

    1. Thanks! I was surprised by the cramping, but there are so many things that can happen out there on race day, I was glad to be able to keep moving! I’m excited to get back at it. Already looking at a fall marathon 🙂

  6. Amazing job and congratulations on another marathon finish! It’s been awesome to follow your training over the past several weeks. I’m so sorry about the painful cramping! I’ve been in that situation before and it’s just so annoying, and painful 🙁

    I hope that you are enjoying some downtime this week and recovering well – you deserve it!

  7. I’ve said this before but it is HUGE that Toledo was able to pull off the race. When you started training you were really taking it on faith that the race would happen, so it’s especially satisfying to live vicariously through you and read about the race.

    As racing comes back where I live, I’m starting to get the itch to try out new races. I’ve always thought that it would be cool to run Detroit someday so that I could say that I ran a race in another country (lol that brief stint into Canada) and it occurs to me that if I would go to Detroit for a race I could certainly go to Toledo for a race! It’s a haul from where I live but not impossible.
    Beckett @ Birchwood Pie recently posted…Weekly Eats: All It Takes is OneMy Profile

    1. It really was a leap of faith this race was going to happen! As for Detroit, who knows when Canada will let us back in! A lot of people in our area do run Detroit marathon, but I never have. You should come, it’s a great race here in Toledo!

  8. Congrats! I had a similar experience to you with my last Chicago Marathon–I was training for a BQ and on pace to do it but after 13.1, my body had a different plan. It was a warm day and the wheels came off the bus. Ugh. I was still happy with my finish time but it’s hard when you start out so well and then nope! Anyways, your finish time is awesome and you should be proud of it! Nice work and congrats to your friend and hubs too.

  9. I’ve definitely gone out a little too fast to stick with a friend or a pace group and its come back to bite me, but you stuck with it and grinded it out- that’s impressive! You had a strong training cycle and helped many other runners achieve their goals as a coach. That’s incredible! Congratulations on all accounts!

    This sounds like a well-organized event and I like the sound of those temperatures for a marathon!

    1. What was really odd was that the temperature went down just a few degrees during the race and then went back. Not many races are the same temp at the end! No complaints there. We did have a team of happy runners. I think only 2 people didn’t hit their goals, but still had a positive attitude about it.

  10. Congrats to al of you! How wonderful that Toledo was able to pull off a great race given the Covid restrictions. You did so great but yeah, 1:53 is way too fast of a half to be able to hang on. Been there, done that and it HURTS! Glad you’re feeling great post race!

  11. Congratulations! Even though it wasn’t your A goal, that time is something to be proud of. I loved seeing the photos at the start- it made me feel excited to race again!
    Very smart to not walk- I’ve found that if you walk once, it’s so hard to get going and keep going again.
    And I’m glad to hear that your hamstring issue is resolved- that might be the most important thing of all!
    Jenny recently posted…Yes, But Do You REALLY Care?My Profile

    1. It really would not have ended well at all if I would have walked. I told my training group to “dig deep” when the going got tough, which it would, and how they react to it would make a difference. I just kept thinking about that and it got me through! Let’s hope the hamstring is in recovery mode.

  12. Well done! I know the execution wasn’t exactly what you’d hoped for, but wow what a strong race! I’m sorry you had to deal with the leg cramps – you did an awesome job pushing through!

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